Friday, October 19, 2012

Stars Fall Out of Sky This Weekend!

OK, they’re not really stars. They’re the Orionid meteors, bits and pieces of Halley’s Comet left behind from the last time the comet passed by. Every year at this time the Earth passes through this debris – particles ranging from the size of dust to pebbles. All those particles zoom into our atmosphere at speeds of up to 25 miles an hour, burning up as they enter and streaking across the sky.

They radiate from the Club of "Orion the Hunter". If you want to see them, they tend to fly after midnight, and are best seen before dawn. The astronomers at Kopernik Observatory predict dark skies and a shower producing up to 30 meteors an hour for this event.

Clear sky or not, if you live anywhere near Vestal, NY you might want to head over to their program on “Comets and Meteors” this Friday night, October 19 at 8 pm. You’ll have a chance to touch a real meteor, watch how a comet is made, and view the Orionids as they fall out of the sky. They’ll also be open for meteor-viewing October 18 – 21 from 8 pm on (clear skies only). You can call 607-748-3685 for  sky conditions or check their website after 6 pm for a sky update.

For more about comets, meteor showers and all things related, check out EarthSky. And drop by STEM Friday for some books reviews and news you can use.

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